MELINUS VERSUS RED SCALE
melinus is a parasitoid of the Red Scale of Chinese stock
which entered Italy in the sixties.
Morphology and biology
The adult looks like a small yellow-orange coloured wasp,
sized 1 mm length. The
female, after mating, starts her life as a parasite at expense
of female grub laying eggs under follicle and next to the
body of the cochineal. From each egg a little grub grows being
fed by the cochineal. She pupates and, approximatly after
15-20 days from the laying of eggs, the adult flutters about
lifting the follicle or cutting a round hole. The female of
Aphitis melinus, besides living as a parasite of aged grubs,
kills the cochineal by hitting with her ovopositor in order
to be fed by the hemolymph released (the so-called "Host-feeding").
This process is carried out at the expense of female and male
grubs, of male pupae and of pregnant females.
CONTROL OF RED SCALE
control of red cochineal with Aphytis melinus is led
through launches of the parasitoid from April to July and
from September to October, just after the capture of male
Aonidiella on the traps. The total number of individuals launched
is of 40/50 thousands/ha, and depends on the degree of contamination.
During delivery, boxes are to be kept at the temperature of
about 13 °C into polystyrene disposable packs cooled by